That’s all I can stands. I cain’t stands no more. Puked out here is the remainder of my annotated tour of that which was worst, on a communally endured cultural scale, from the previous decade.
As with the preceding five countdowns (100-81, 80-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-30), my plan was to imbue each entry with its own vituperative condemnation, summing up what was unforgivable about each transgression and irrigating my spleen, simultaneously.
But the second half of January 2010 has placed me in a brighter spot than the first half, and I wish to write tributes to the gorgeous likes of Allen Garfield and “Bag” from the first season of Happy Days.
So here’s the rest of the wretchedness, barfed out in one bombastic bifurcation of gargantuan grievance.
Have at, and then let’s get on with things, shall we?
Granted, beer and I have endured a tempestuous relationship, lo these past handful of decades.
So I do come into this dust-up with all manner of chips on my shoulder, affixed there good and stiff by piles of dried puke.
Plus, the first half of the 1990s, was all about nonstop imbibing of Rolling Rock for me, that quaint hepcat elixir of the grunge era.
But I must protest that I, at least, genuinley did like the taste of Rolling Rock and that I do believe that it is BIOLOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for any human throat to choke down Pabst Blue Ribbon unless it’s powered by faux-blue-collar pretensions and ironic non-irony and prescribed cornballism and desperate, ugly floundering desires to be SEEN choking down Pabst Blue Ribbon.
And, on (foamy) top of that, I never, ever heard to Rolling Rock as “RR”.
When was the last time you were able to escape mention of “P.B.R.”?
So to P.B.R. and, more pointedly, suckers down of P.B.R., I say:
“P. - U.!”
At first, it was easy to just lob mental feces at Will Ferrell and be done with him.
After all, it was his cheerleader bit that seemed to prompt Saturday Night Live to abandon the idea of recurring characters and simply substitute entire recurring sketches—exact same construction, exact same set-ups, exact same beats, exact same punchlines, exact same everything (with the sole switch being one week’s guest host appearing in the exact same role as the previous week’s guest host).
So instead of “The Coneheads Celebrate Halloween” begetting “The Coneheads Welcome Connie’s Boyfriend to Dinner”, SNL is comprised entirely of “Gilly” pieces (to name just one offender) so identically indistinguishable from one another that they could function as some kind of minimalist art experiment—as long as it was one in which laughter is forbidden.
But back to Ferrell. At some point, he did start to make me laugh on SNL and, by the time he got to the professor character declaring love for his “llluhh-vaahhh”, I was on his side. Then came the movie Elf (2003), and I was a … if not exactly a fan, certainly a booster.
Alas, but then came way, way, way too much Will Ferrell and then he wanted us to really, really, seriously APPRECIATE his socking it to George W. Bush and then I hated him more than the first time.
And no anti-funniness that the public refuses to not fake-laugh-at better crystallizes everything despicable about lazy, stillborn Will Ferrell than the anti-funniness of Anchorman.
Still, as trite, as watery, and as dead-schticky as Anchorman is—and that is ALL Anchorman is—by far, its far most loathsome transgression is creating PEOPLE WHO QUOTE ANCHORMAN.
You hear that, you SMELLY PIRATE HOOKER!?!?
HAW! HAW!! HAWWWWWWWWW!!!!
Although I have to admit the opposite would make for an intriguing fashion trend: women’s hats on men.
Pick your “us.”
Pick your “them.”
Pick who’s going to dictate your “me.”
Pick your ass and eat it. Then die of Hepatitis A. That will serve us all better.
Same goes for cunts of the traditional cuntish gender.
25. AXE BODY PRODUCTS.
Why capitalists want to sell you deodorant.
24. TRIUMPH OF THE PG-13.
Mr. Skin said it best. And I said it for Mr. Skin.
22. THE ANTI-“TORTURE PORN” POLICE
Especially this parasitic interloper who believes subjecting her child to The fucking goddamned desevered-to-be-razor-sodomized Shins is more beneficial to his development than, say, Scrapbook (2001).
Who made it palatable for the King Midases of Feces that would eventually turn it into U2?
I will tell you who: this uniformed careerist who brought Crosby, Stills, & Nash political sloganeering to the initial Nihilism Party and used it to poison the punch (in every sense of the term), that’s who.
Weep not for the murderer Joe Strummer.
19. JOSS WHEDON MENSTRUATING ON THE HORROR GENRE.
Really, just Joss Whedon, period, as in the monthly visit bestowed upon any fella named Joseph who prefers you call him by the common abbreviation for “Jocelyn”.
And also because:
B. ANY externally piss-piped being that majors in Women’s Studies is a desperate, oozing, opportunistic grotesque (for the internally-genitaled, that figure drops to the high 99-percentiles).
C. For all the self-trumpeted feminism of the (PUUUUUUUKKKKE!) “Whedonverse”, Jocelyn’s work proves that he believes in powerful heroines—as long as the source of their power is their MAXIM-ready bikini bodies.
D. I’ve never made it through 18 consecutive of Buffy the Vampire Slayer without attempting to drive a stake throught my TV screen.
E. This simp who built a capitalist fortune on ghouls, grimness, and gruesomery wants to dictate and limit the “extremes” to which genuine horror filmmakers may dare to go.
F. Again, the hairdo.
Still. Why? FOR WHO?!?!
Especially non-Ed-Hardy brands that look exactly like Ed Hardy abominations worn by product-headed abominations who claim they’d never be caught dead wearing Ed Hardy.
Gonad-free fake hayseedism in general, Wilco in particular.
Jeff Tweedy’s unfortunately resilient liver in super-ultra particular.
15. ALMOST FAMOUS.
14. TEARS FOR THE WORLD FINALLY SHITTING OUT JOHN HUGHES.
I was 15 in 1984 when Sixteen Candles came out and it was followed, in rapid succession, by The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, all before my 1986 high-school graduation.
This gruesomely unamusing onslaught from the creative loins of (the once great) National Lampoon contributor John Hughes hit me, especially at the time, as cascading firebombs of class warfare propaganda.
And the privileged, moneyed, New-Wave-grooving, Mid-West suburban “heroes” of Hughes’ freakishly inappropriate fantasies (which, more freakishly, he was never called out on) certainly did not represent anything resembling any side of suicidal, prog-and-metal-listening, son-of-a-Green-Beret, Brooklynite me.
In fact, Hughes’ characters, clearly and infuriatingly, both embodied The Enemy and taught The Enemy how to be just that … The Enemy.
“I wanted a car,” sniffs Ferris Bueller in non-appreciation of his parents’ generosity, “I got a computer!”
(Consider the context: cars and computers, circa ‘86, were comparable investments.)
Somehow, I couldn’t sympathize with Master Bueller. And somehow I couldn’t swallow that that obscenely entitled skag was supposed to be The Coolest Kid in the School Called the Whole Wide World. Somehow, I only wanted to take up arms.
But I didn’t. I just … did other stuff. And, alas, like the Caucasian Nobility that Hughes only served to further empower, those shitty fucking movies and their even (way) shittier fucking soundtracks never went the fuck away.
In fact, Hughes only grew in stature over time, especially as newer generations of dipshitticusses threw themselves into Nostalgia for Other People’s Memories.
So when John Hughes died suddenly last year, I expressed how much I wouldn’t miss him.
Oh, the moans I heard and shaming fingers I felt zinging in my direction.
But I stand unmoved. The war rages on. To quote one of Hughes’ infinitely more gifted Lampoon superiors: “It’s the slobs against the snobs.”
And I’m still breathing.
13. THE DIABLO CODY MOMENT
Again, let us goddamn all Nostalgia for Other People’s (Alzheimer’s Glazed) Memories.
Especially Michael Cera.
12. Grown men punctuating written sentences with smiley faces
11. DONNIE DARKO.
Here it is, all you arrested-at-your-first-jerkoff losers aching for looking-glass/beer-bottle illusions/delusions of onanistic impunity: Revenge of the turds.
His sister, less famously, committed suicide.
Touch anything connected to this twee, oily-tendriled, diabetic anal rot made contemptible flesh, and you’ll understand members of the Family Eggers’ fatal insistence on getting away from their ultimate shame—i.e., being related to the treacle-reeking un-talent who bullet-proofs his every keystroke with juvenile irony and hyper-preening “adowableness”.
Case in point: the very title, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Case in mortifying mega-point: the Eggers-bankrupted movie version Where the Wild Things Are (2009).
Continue following that dildo’s example, Judd.
All the way. Hard. And fast.
Not the Woody Allen bomb (which was from 1998, anyway). Our ENTIRE PRESENT REALITY.
6. PITCHFORK NATION
The Complete and Utter Goddamnable Castration of Mainstream Rock Music.
5. SEX AND THE CITY
Oh, wait! It turns out you ARE your fucking shoes!
The how-to manual for perfect male nothingness, for all-encompassing consumerist enslavement, for eruptions of false superiority emanating from volunteer lobomitization.
FUCKIN’-A RIGHTEOUS, DUDE!
3. Your Gushing Love and Adoration of Authority as long as it comes wrapped in a Good Negro Daddy President package.
2. THE DAILY SHOW
See the above category. Now see it loathsomely, utterly, toxically embodied in the smug “compassion” and “bemusement” over “what’s Good for America” in Jon Stewart’s Oxblood-Doc-Marten-inviting smirk.
Then go put on your Oxblood Doc Martens. Steel toes first.
1. GOING OUT TO A MOVIE.
The talking, texting, telephoning, “shush”-resistance and all-around subhumanism of modern-day movie theater audiences begs for wholesale hydrogen-bomb sterilization of this species that laughably deems itself human like no other offense that has ever existed.
The nonstop audience ruckus that once seemed so fun and funny to me on 42nd Street throughout the ’80s and ’90s now coagulates my blood into pure fury and serves only to remind me that I was constantly drunk, high, and coked-to-the-corneas whenever I was on 42nd Street throughout the ’80s and ’90s.
It’s not even a lack of etiquette. It’s an evolution of New Etiquette wherein full-voiced conversation, beaming cell-phone lights, and running commentary are part of what people go to the movies now to do. And put up with.
And it’s ALL people. Make no mistake. Prior to the past few years, strategic racism could spare one most interruptions of this nature.
Time was, you could enter the theater, scan the crowd and assess potential noise-and-nonsense-makers thusly:
Black teenagers? Nonstop jibber-jabber. Arguments. Doobie-passing. Will kill you if you ask them to pipe down. Will answer each in an endless series of phone calls by bellowing: “Yo! I’m at the movies! Nah, it’s ai-ight, it’s ai-aight…”
Hispanic families? Infant hysteria. Toddler hysteria. Tween hysteria. Adolescent hysteria as they set about creating more infants, toddlers, and tweens. Mami making cell phone plans for after the movie. Papi offering loud advice to the screen.
… and so on.
But now All God’s Chillen have done gotten in on the rootin’-tootin’, rompin’-stompin’ free-for-all.
Last year, when I spotted two hyper-white fratty dudes at the Last House on the Left remake, I plopped down smack in front of them, thinking … well, you know what I was thinking.
Two minutes in, it became apparent that Biff and Happy behind me intended to narrate the entire movie.
“They’re cops,” one said when the police on-screen powered up the siren in their unmarked car.
At the Music Box Theatre—my favorite Chicago movie haunt—I can, will, and often do stand up, turn around, point at the sources of the disturbance and erupt: “SHHHHHHHHHUT UPPPPPPP, YOU!!!”
That’s largely due to of the size, weight, and capability for violence of the average Music Box Theatre attendee.
Last House was playing at the local Kerasotes multiplex and these two Jockensteins would not be so instantly intimidated.
So they talked. And I went “Shhhh!” And they kicked the back of my chair. Over and over and over again, throughout the entirety of the movie (which was sold out, meaning no switching seats, no escape).
Beginning at age four, when I stayed awake all the way through Pinocchio, going out to a movie served as the supreme pleasure in my life.
Alas, a glimmer of hope occurred near decade’s end. And with that in mind, let us all now salute James Joseph Cialella who silenced a movie theater gabber the only proper and righteous way: by shooting him with a Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun.
All hail James Joseph Cialella, the hero—the only true hero—of the decade!
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